Thaw frozen turkey safely in the refrigerator or immersed in cold water. When defrosting a frozen turkey in the refrigerator, allow one day for each 4 pounds of weight. Cold-water thawing takes roughly 30 minutes per pound.
The USDA also approves the use of a microwave oven to defrost frozen turkey, but it cautions that consumers should plan to cook the bird immediately after it's defrosted. Microwave defrosting may actually heat some parts of the turkey rather than just defrost it, and that allows potentially harmful bacteria to grow. After defrosting in the refrigerator, it's possible to refreeze an uncooked turkey, although its quality might degrade somewhat.