A quantitative methodology was developed to identify protein interactions in a broad range of cell types by using FRET between fluorescent proteins. Genetic fusions of a target receptor to a FRET acceptor and a large library of candidate peptide ligands to a FRET donor enabled high-throughput optical screening for optimal interaction partners in the cytoplasm of Escherichia coli. Flow cytometric screening identified a panel of peptide ligands capable of recognizing the target receptors in the intracellular environment. For both SH3 and PDZ domain-type target receptors, physiologically meaningful consensus sequences were apparent among the isolated ligands. The relative dissociation constants of interacting partners could be measured directly by using a dilution series of cell lysates containing FRET hybrids, providing a previously undescribed high-throughput approach to rank the affinity of many interaction partners. FRET hybrid interaction screening provides a powerful tool to discover protein ligands in the cellular context with potential applications to a wide variety of eukaryotic cell types.