In the title compound, C16H16N2O2, the N′-acetylacetohydrazide group is approximately planar (r.m.s. deviation = 0.018 Å for the eight non-H atoms) and makes dihedral angles of 81.92 (6) and 65.19 (6)° with the terminal phenyl rings. The phenyl rings form a dihedral angle of 62.60 (7)°. In the crystal, molecules are linked into sheets lying parallel to (001) by N—H⋯O and C—H⋯O hydrogen bonds. One O atom accepts one N—H⋯O and one C—H⋯O hydrogen bond and the other O atom accepts one N—H⋯O and two C—H⋯O hydrogen bonds. The N—H⋯O hydrogen bonds lead to R 2 2(8) loops and the C—H⋯O hydrogen bonds generate R 2 1(6) loops.