AbstractReal human conversation data are complicated, heterogeneous, and noisy, from which building open-domain dialogue systems remains a challenging task. In fact, such dialogue data still contains a wealth of information and knowledge, however, they are not fully explored. In this paper, we show existing open-domain dialogue generation methods that memorize context-response paired data with autoregressive or encode-decode language models underutilize the training data. Different from current approaches, using external knowledge, we explore a retrieval-generation training framework that can take advantage of the heterogeneous and noisy training data by considering them as “evidence”. In particular, we use BERTScore for retrieval, which gives better qualities of the evidence and generation. Experiments over publicly available datasets demonstrate that our method can help models generate better responses, even such training data are usually impressed as low-quality data. Such performance gain is comparable with those improved by enlarging the training set, even better. We also found that the model performance has a positive correlation with the relevance of the retrieved evidence. Moreover, our method performed well on zero-shot experiments, which indicates that our method can be more robust to real-world data.