Is there anyone who doesn’t love good cornbread? Cornbread is a simple dish with humble beginnings. Traditionally made with ground cornmeal and water, it was a dish of necessity. Eventually, people started incorporating richer ingredients, like buttermilk or animal fat, into their cornbread recipes, and only then did it become the crowd-pleasing side dish it is today (via Southern Living.)

Cornbread has a rich history, with ties to many cultures, including several Native American tribes, from the Algonquin to the Narragansett, who all had their own versions of it (via Ocala StarBanner). But in the United States, cornbread is considered a soul food staple that developed in the Deep South during the era of slavery. Enslaved people took the meager, basic food they were given, like corn meal, and adapted traditional African recipes, which over time became the soul food dishes we know and love today (via Black Foodie.)

But now for the reason you’re here: You have some leftover cornbread on your hands. Hopefully, it’s that perfectly crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside cast iron cornbread. And while the best way to deal with leftovers is to just eat them, if you do find yourself with extra cornbread on your hands, here are some versatile ways to make sure not a single crumb goes to waste.

1. Turn it into croutons

Croutons are the perfect way to give your salad or soup a little crunch and an extra burst of carb-tastic flavor. Based on the French word for "crust," croutons are little cubes of twice-baked bread. And the beauty of croutons is that they can be made from any kind of bread, which includes cornbread. In fact, croutons are the perfect use for cornbread that’s been sitting for a day or two, because slightly stale bread helps give them their signature crunch.

To make your own cornbread croutons, follow the same steps you would to make your own homemade croutons. Simply slice or rip up some cornbread into roughly one-inch chunks. Spread the bread chunks out on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and any seasonings you’d like. Salt and pepper, garlic powder, or even some chipotle powder would go great with cornbread. Then pop the tray in the oven for around 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit to dry your croutons out further. Once they’ve cooled down, you’ll have delicious, flavorful cornbread croutons that will heighten any Caesar salad or tomato soup.

2. Make a panzanella salad

Like most of the world’s best recipes, the panzanella salad hails from humble beginnings. Created in Tuscany, this salad traditionally consisted of stale bread and tomatoes. It was developed as a way to use old bread during their abundant tomato season, according to famed Italian chef Lidia Bastianich. Nowadays, panzanella salad has expanded to include all kinds of ingredients, from tomatoes to avocadoes or even roasted vegetables. However, one ingredient remains a staple: stale bread. And yes, that can include leftover cornbread!

The beauty of a panzanella salad is that it is very versatile, like this delicious grilled cornbread panzanella with creamy avocado, acidic tomatoes, and onions. Simply bake, or better yet, grill some cubed cornbread and toss it with the salad for a perfect summer meal. Or if you’re looking for a more autumnal spin on this salad, adapt Lidia Bastianich’s roasted vegetable panzanella salad. It’s the perfect way to reuse leftover sides from your Thanksgiving table!

3. Use it to top a fruit crumble or crisp

The fruit crumble or crisp are two close cousins, and both are great ways to make use of fruit that is threatening to go bad. They’re the perfect easy-to-throw-together dessert — like a pie without all the hassle of making a pie crust. While the differences between a crumble and a crisp are subtle, both could benefit from leftover cornbread crumbs. How delicious would a classic apple cobbler be with some flavorful cornbread crumbs mixed in with the brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon topping? Cornbread would also complement the tart cherries in this delicious skillet cherry crisp recipe as well.

Or perhaps an apple brown Betty is the perfect use for your old cornbread needs. After all, it’s essentially a cobbler that traditionally uses buttered breadcrumbs layered amongst your cooked fruit of choice. If buttered cornbread crumbs nestled amongst baked, juicy, sweet peaches doesn’t make your mouth water, what does?

4. Use it to thicken chili, soups, and stews

If you enjoy a thicker stew, soup, or chili with a hearty mouthfeel, then you need to be able to thicken it without dulling the flavor. Sure, you could just mix in some flour or arrowroot, but you risk making your dish taste bland. A perfect solution is to crumble up some of that leftover cornbread you have lying around to both thicken your stew or soup AND add flavor, rather than taking it away. Toss some cornbread crumbles into your crockpot beef stew or save them for the end and sprinkle them on top.

And of course, cornbread is the perfect thickening agent for a pot of chili; after all, it’s the ideal chili side dish, so why not mix some right in? You can even take it one step further and make a chili casserole with a cornbread crust using day-old cornbread instead of making it from scratch.

5. Make a cornbread stuffing

Stuffing (or dressing, depending where you’re from) has become a staple of every Thanksgiving table, despite the fact it was likely not served during that first Thanksgiving meal at Plymouth Rock, according to The Washington Post. In fact, the likelihood of that storied first Thanksgiving meal even being real is up for some debate. Some of the first stuffing recipes actually popped up in Ancient Rome. So whether you make your stuffing actually stuffed inside a turkey, or baked separately as a side dish, you’re always going to need dry, stale bread. And that’s where your leftover cornbread comes into play.

In the south, it’s already very common to use cornbread to make dressing/stuffing. Stale cornbread is mixed with binders like eggs and milk and then combined further with sauteed sausage and onions. Bake the cornbread-sausage concoction in a baking dish until browned, and you have a simple, delicious southern side dish that will leave no crumb of cornbread uneaten.

6. Elevate your corn fritters

The corn fritter is another example of great, simple, southern cuisine. According to the South Florida Reporter, the term "fritter" stems from the Latin word for "to fry," which is appropriate as these fresh corn-filled hand cakes are traditionally deep fried in butter or oil, as all the best foods are. However, if you’re craving the delicious crunch of deep-fried corn fritters but don’t want the calories, and you have some leftover cornbread you need to use, then we have the recipe for you.

Enter the air-fried corn fritter. The air fryer has become a staple kitchen appliance because they give you the taste of fried food with a lot less oil, and they’re super simple to use. For this corn fritter recipe, you simply combine fresh corn, seasoning, eggs, and typically some flour or cornmeal, but we suggest adding some crumbled, day-old cornbread to the mix to add tons of flavor and some great texture. Blend the ingredients briefly to combine and then form your patties and "fry" in your air fryer. We guarantee this is going to become a staple recipe in your home.

7. Turn it into a casserole

When you hear the word "casserole," you tend to picture something — anything — baked in a casserole dish, likely with a breaded topping. It’s a pretty nebulous term. But when it comes to cornbread casserole, it’s kind of like if casserole and cornbread pudding had a baby. In short, it’s simple, delicious, and with some moderate adaptations, corn casseroles are a great way to utilize leftover cornbread.

Many cornbread casserole recipes are simple and straightforward, with sauteed onions and corn combined with Jiffy cornbread mix. In this case, we advise you skip the Jiffy mix and crumble up some of your already-made cornbread. Mix the crumbs with a little milk and butter to moisten them, then top the onion/corn mixture with it instead. Another great recipe is this Mexican cornbread casserole. Simply top your day-old cornbread with cooked ground beef, peppers, onions, and your favorite Mexican seasonings, then pop in the oven for a bit to allow the juices to soften up the old cornbread in no time.

8. Incorporate it into crab cakes

Crab cakes have been around for hundreds of years, dating back to Native American tribes who would harvest crabs along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay (via The Baltimore Sun.) These popular and classic crab cakes always use, of course, crab meat first and foremost, blended with peppers, onions, seasoning like Old Bay, and of course, a binder like breadcrumbs and mayonnaise. There are endless ways to enhance and change up your crab cake recipe, either by mixing in other vegetables, using different spices and seasonings, or in this case, using a unique and flavorful binder like leftover cornbread.

These classic crab cakes with a sriracha ginger mayo sauce typically use ground crackers as a binder, but we highly suggest swapping the crackers out for leftover cornbread crumbs. The cornbread will pack more flavor and moisture into the cakes and will taste great with the sriracha ginger sauce.

9. Make savory cornbread French toast

In the States, we call it French toast. In France, they call it pain à la romaine, or "Roman toast." No matter what you call it, French toast has always existed as a way to utilize bread before it goes stale. Soaking in milk and eggs can turn even the hardest bread into a brunch-time delicacy. And this is why we highly recommend French toast-ifying your day-old cornbread.

Cornbread French toast is made just like any other French toast: Simply soak the cornbread in milk and eggs that have been seasoned with cinnamon and salt. Serve them with a drizzle of honey and blackberries to complement the savory-sweet flavor of the cornbread. Or if you really want to amplify the savory-sweet nature of cornbread, follow Rachel Ray’s advice and mix in a little Parmesan cheese into your soaking custard to get that perfect blend of saltiness with the light sweetness of the vanilla and syrup.

10. Stuff it into a pork loin

Stuffed pork loin is a dish that looks super impressive but is deceptively easy to make. It’s a great way to add flavor to pork loin, which can sometimes be a tad on the tougher side, unlike the very similarly named pork tenderloin, which is in fact, a different part of the pig and, as the name suggests, is more tender. The tenderloin is also more expensive. But whether you stick with pork loin or splurge on the tenderloin, either cut would go great with a cornbread stuffing mixture rolled up inside. The cornbread adds both flavor and moisture, and is a perfect complement to other great stuffed pork loin flavors, like onions, apples, and even crushed nuts.

If you’re someone who likes to follow a recipe, you can easily adapt this cherry, almond, and wild rice stuffed pork loin recipe to include cornbread. Simply swap out the wild rice for some crumbled cornbread and follow the recipe as listed. The cornbread will go great with the tangy-sweetness of the cherries and the nuttiness of the almonds. And if you’re really feeling fancy, go ahead and sub in pork tenderloin! You only live once.

11. Use it as pizza crust (yes, you read that right)

So you’ve got a giant slab of cornbread left over and it’s too much to crumble into another recipe. What is one to do? Might we suggest throwing some pizza fixin’s on top? A cornbread pizza is the obvious next step in America’s deep-dish pizza obsession, and frankly, we’re surprised it’s not offered at every major pizza chain. After all, thick, flavorful, slightly-sweet cornbread would be the perfect vehicle for classic marinara sauce, melted, bubbling mozzarella cheese, and maybe even a couple of pieces of fresh basil. If you’ve got any pepperoni lying around in the fridge, go ahead and toss them on there too! Stick your cornbread pizza under a broiler to melt the cheese, and smile because you’ve achieved pizza nirvana.

But don’t limit yourself to traditional pizza toppings. Cornbread tastes great with pretty much any ingredient. Basically, if you’d put it on a regular pizza, you can put it on cornbread too. Why not try a delicious breakfast pizza, complete with a fried egg and veggies like peppers, onions, and mushrooms? Regardless of which pizza you make, we doubt you’ll regret it.

12. Make an open-faced sandwich

The open-faced sandwich is a diner staple, a celebration of both the bread and the toppings. It’s also the perfect way to utilize some leftover cornbread. Simply slice a large piece of cornbread down the middle, toast it up so that it doesn’t fall apart and holds its shape (and give it a nice touch of texture,) and then you can build any open-faced sandwich your imagination can create. Don’t hold back! It’s time to let your inner deli connoisseur shine.

One obviously delicious option would be to use cornbread as a base for the classic day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich, which is the perfect way to combine all kinds of leftovers in one heaping, delicious handheld meal. Just top your sliced, toasted cornbread with thick slices of turkey, cranberry sauce, and hey, why not add a little mashed potatoes as well?

If it’s not turkey season, have no fear because your open-faced cornbread sandwich will be delicious topped with anything from roasted eggplants to tuna salad. And if nothing else, a cornbread grilled cheese sandwich sounds absolutely heavenly.

13. Transform quiche fillings and crusts

Quiche is a favorite brunch staple and also a great way to utilize that cornbread you have lying around. This French dish is basically an egg pie; it features a custard-like egg filling usually served in a pie shell, and it’s always loaded with tons of delicious veggies, meat, and of course, cheese of any and all varieties. But the one ingredient all your quiches have been missing thus far: cubes of delicious, savory-sweet cornbread. The cornbread does the double duty of adding flavor and texture to your quiche, and it’s the perfect companion to all of your favorite ingredients.

For example, cornbread would be a welcome addition to a classic bacon and cheddar quiche as the subtle sweetness of the cornbread perfectly complements the salty umami of bacon and cheddar. Simply mix in cubes of cornbread to the recipe and enjoy. You could also swap out potatoes for cornbread cubes in this crustless ham and potato quiche recipe. After all, who needs a crust when you have cornbread chunks?