Thawing a frozen turkey takes time, and doing so properly is very important for food safety reasons.
It is NOT safe to allow frozen meat or poultry to thaw on a counter-top for more than 2 hours.
THAWING A TURKEY IN THE REFRIGERATOR
Allow about 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator set to 40 F or below.
Make sure to put the turkey in a container to avoid juices from the raw turkey getting onto other foods.
If possible, place the turkey on the bottom shelf.
4 to 12 pounds - 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds - 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds - 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds - 5 to 6 days
THAWING A TURKEY WITH COLD WATER
Allow about 30 minutes per pound.
Make sure that the turkey is placed in a leak-proof plastic bag to keep raw juices from leaking out and to prevent the turkey from absorbing water.
Keep the turkey fully submerged in cold water, and replace the water every 30 minutes until it is completely thawed. Begin grilling the turkey immediately after it has been thawed.
4 to 12 pounds — 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds — 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds — 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds — 10 to 12 hours