The frustrated Potters boss admitted he had hoped to add significant firepower to his forward line at the start of the month.
Former Manchester United striker Hughes said several times Stoke were close to concluding permanent deals for forwards, only to be gazumped at the last minute.
Everton striker Nikica Jelavic was rumoured to be a target, but the Croatia hitman joined Hull instead.
Hughes admitted Stoke have missed out on other options too, so is hoping for better fortune in the second half of the window.
"We felt we were close on a number of occasions prior to the window opening and we thought we would get our business done very quickly," said Hughes.
"You get close then all of a sudden you wake up one morning and you find the deal you think is on the table has gone somewhere else.
"So that's happened to us on a number of occasions."
Stoke's toothless attacking play cost them any chance of victory at Selhurst Park on Saturday, as Crystal Palace edged to a 1-0 Barclays Premier League win.
Hughes was left to lament his side's final-third shortcomings, underlining Stoke's need for January reinforcements.
Securing Stephen Ireland on a permanent deal freed up a loan berth immediately filled by Manchester City's John Guidetti.
Hughes expects the Sweden forward to grow in confidence in the coming weeks, but does not want the additions to end there.
"We're still in the mix for a number of players," he said.
"Given we haven't been able to get too many over the line we've done a good bit of business in terms of Stephen signing permanently, and that's allowed John to come in and we're pleased with that.
"But we still need a little more in that final third, to give us a bit of impetus and a bit of pace to really force teams."
A superlative triple save from goalkeeper Jack Butland denied Palace the opportunity to close out Saturday's clash late on.
Stoke were unable to take advantage at the other end to snatch a draw, despite Ryan Shawcross being flung up front with a host of balls launched into the area.
Impressed with Butland's form, Hughes admitted other Stoke stars must now follow in his stead.
"Jack's a good keeper, everybody's been aware of Jack for a long time, but he needed to get experience at this level," said Hughes.
"He's shown in a couple of games that he's got good ability, and I thought he was our standout player today, in terms of having a confident, assured performance.
"So that will do him no end of good.
"I was pleased with him, but we needed more performances from the other guys as well."