A large frozen item like a turkey requires at least a day (24 hours) to defrost in the refrigerator for every 5 pounds of weight.
If you are pressed for time, use this quicker defrosting method. Keep turkey in packaging and add it to a large pot. Cover turkey with ice-cold water. Let turkey sit in cold water for 30 minutes per pound. Drain water.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.
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