Bovine and human serum albumin (BSA and HSA) are globular proteins that function as bloodstream carriers of hydrophobes such as fatty acids and drugs. We fabricated novel photonic crystal protein hydrogels by attaching 2D colloidal arrays onto pure BSA and HSA hydrogels. The wavelengths of the diffracted light sensitively report on the protein hydrogel surface area. The binding of charged species to the protein hydrogel gives rise to Donnan potentials that change the hydrogel volume causing shifts in the diffraction. These photonic crystal protein hydrogels act as sensitive Coulometers that monitor the hydrogel charge state. We find multiple high-affinity BSA and HSA binding sites for salicylate, ibuprofen and picosulfate by using these sensors to monitor binding of charged drugs. We demonstrate proof-of-concept for utilizing protein hydrogel sensors to monitor protein-ionic species binding.