How to Safely Thaw a Frozen Turkey
There are two ways to thaw a frozen turkey.
1. Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator.
Leave the frozen turkey in its packaging and place in a pan. (Trust me on this. A few years ago, I simply put the frozen turkey in the fridge without placing in a pan. When I removed the thawed turkey from the fridge, I had a stream of blood from my fridge to my sink before I realized what had happened. YUCK!)
Place the pan in the refrigerator. It takes about 1 day for every 4 pounds of turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. This online calculator will also tell you how long you need to thaw the turkey in the fridge depending on size of turkey.
2. Thaw the turkey in cold water.
If you forget to get the turkey out of the freezer in time, you can thaw the turkey in cold water. Leave the turkey in its packaging and place breast side down in the kitchen sink and cover completely with cold water. Change the water frequently as it starts to warm. It takes about 30 minutes per pound to thaw this way. Use this online calculator to determine estimated time for thawing.
REMEMBER it is not safe to thaw the turkey at room temperature due to bacterial concerns.