There are 3 ways to thaw your turkey safely, and letting it sit on the counter isn't on the list.
Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.
Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping. Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.
Check the owner's manual of your microwave (or look up your specific microwave online). It should tell you what size turkey will fit, how many minutes per pound it will need to thaw, and what power level to use. Remove all outside wrapping, and place on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that may leak. Cook your turkey immediately. Do not refreeze or refrigerate your turkey after thawing in the microwave.
Information from: USDA Let's Talk Turkey—A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey
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